Responding to That Niggle

I joined my husband at the table with six others,
thinking I wouldn’t have much to contribute as they began to plan our church
association’s western region conference. Our district superintendant revealed
details about the main speaker, venue and other things that had already fallen
into place. Then the group began to discuss workshops. These are, typically,
focused on topics pertinent to pastors and lay leaders in the church.
That’s when I felt that little niggle – offer a
writing workshop. I pushed the thought away. I knew the attendees at the
conference would be a group of highly qualified, highly educated people, mostly
pastors. What could I possibly teach them? I reasoned.
But the niggle wouldn’t go away. So finally, in a
soft voice I asked, “Do you think anyone would be interested in a workshop on
writing their testimony?” Our superintendant’s eyebrows rose a bit and his
words surprised me. “Good idea,” he said. Then he grinned. “And do you know
someone who could teach it?” I smiled back and volunteered. As I prepared I
wondered who, if any, would show up.
The majority of the conference was over by the time
the workshop was scheduled and I was very much aware that God had been at work.
The preaching and teaching had been excellent and the general mood was upbeat. I
had facilitated a session for pastor’s wives that morning that had gone very
well. So it was with a lightened spirit that I made my way to the room where
the workshop was to be done. But my heart sank as I stepped into the room.
One man sat in a corner with his head in his hands,
obviously praying. I hesitated. Did I have the wrong room? The man raised his
head, smiled and stood to introduce himself. Franco’s English was halting. As
we waited for others I hoped would join us, I asked where he was from and
discovered he had been in the country for only a couple of years. I was about
to ask him why he wanted to take this workshop when two women arrived. The four
of us sat down and I prayed for our time together.
As I taught, my three students began to scribble
notes. Now and then one of them would ask a question. The ninety minutes flew
by. At the end of the time they gathered around my small book table, each choosing
a purchase and each of them thanking me over and over again for the teaching.
Franco’s face beamed. “Now I can do this,” he said. “Now
I can write to my friends and my church back home.” 
The younger of the two
women nodded. “I know God has been nudging me to write,” she said, but with little
kids it’s hard to find time. This has shown me that I can do it. It’s just what
I needed.”
“I’ve only ever written things for my children,” the
older woman explained. As I encouraged her to reach for a wider audience, the
light in her eyes told me she would.
As I packed up the remainder of my books I was
smiling. Such a small class. Such wonderful potential for God to do mighty
things through them. I thanked the Lord, over and over again.
“Who dares despise the day of small things…?” (Zechariah
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone has just been short-listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded here.
Visit Marcia’s website